One in 10 emergency ambulance calls in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh are not attended by paramedics, according to figures obtained by Jackie Baillie under Freedom of Information.
In 2014/15, there were 231 cases where an ambulance with no paramedic attended a Category A call, the most life-threatening emergency, making up 10% of all Category A calls received.
This means that there are more than four call-outs on average each week for the most serious and life-threatening emergencies like heart attacks and strokes without a paramedic but with a trained technician present.
The figures were only released for the first half of 2015/16 but they show that there were 108 incidents between April and October 2015.
Other figures published last month revealed that the single-staffing of local ambulances is still widespread despite Nicola Sturgeon’s promise to ‘eliminate’ the practice eight years ago.
The Scottish Ambulance Service said that its technicians are able to contact the Ambulance Control Centre to speak to a clinical advisor but this goes against the SNP’s pledge to ensure that a paramedic is on every emergency ambulance, except in the most exceptional cases.
“The fact that the Scottish Ambulance Service does not even have enough paramedics to respond to one in ten emergency calls in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh is yet another example of the SNP’s neglect of our local health services. Local ambulance technicians are well-trained and dedicated to their job but they should not be expected to take over the work of paramedics in the most life-threatening emergencies.
“Eight years ago the SNP promised to eliminate the single-staffing of ambulances but instead they have starved our local health services of funding and resources. The Service has struggled to fill shifts and our area has been left without cover because local ambulances are getting sucked into the Greater Glasgow network after taking patients across the Erskine Bridge to Paisley for A&E. They also promised that there would be a paramedic on every ambulance but have broken that promise too. The SNP is well aware of these problems as we raised them with the Cabinet Secretary on at least two occasions, but she has failed to take action to improve local services.”
“The next Scottish Labour government will protect spending on the NHS and stop the cuts to local services at the Vale of Leven Hospital to ensure better, faster treatment for local patients